You may have heard that a whole-house fan can help keep your home cool and save you money. In many cases, this is true. If used correctly, your whole-house fan can support your air conditioning system and help maintain your home's indoor air quality. Below, we provide a review of how whole-house fans work, why you need a professional to install them and how you can use them to improve your home comfort levels.
How Does a Whole-House Fan Work?
Whole-house fans are large exhaust fans and that are remarkably simple in how they work. They pull fresh air from your open windows and then exhaust your stale, inside air through a vent in your roof. In doing so, they help keep the air in your home fresh, help reduce the temperature inside your home and even help remove hot, trapped air from your attic.
Though whole-house fans function in a straightforward manner, they are fairly complex machines. Therefore, they must be installed by a professional, like ours at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar.
How Many Windows Need to Be Opened?
We are often asked how many windows need to be open for a whole-house fan to work. Generally, we recommend having at least two windows open in your home before running your whole house fan. The optimal number of windows to have open during operation will be determined by your fan's net-free venting requirements. When we perform the installation, our installers will go over this with you and help you identify which windows you should open for optimal performance
Protect Your Home from CO2 Buildup
Opening windows before running your whole-house fan is incredibly important, as neglecting to do so can create a dangerous backdraft in your furnace, water heater or other gas-fueled appliances. This can cause a CO2 buildup, which can be extremely dangerous. Ask our whole-house fan installer how many windows need to be open for your specific fan to ensure that this doesn't happen.
The Benefits of Installing a Whole-House Fan
Whole-house fans are often touted as great energy savers when cooling your home. This is true. It takes less energy to run a whole house fan than a central air conditioning system. Therefore, if you can maximize the usage of your whole house fan, you likely will be able to reduce the time of running your cooling system. And reduced energy consumption translates to reduced energy costs for you. This is huge in the summer when we rely so heavily on our air conditioning.
You should consider installing a whole-house fan if:
- You are spending an excessive amount of money on cooling your home
- You are looking for a cooling option that is more environmentally friendly
- You have pets or suffer from seasonal allergies
- You are looking for a way to make your home more energy-efficient
Keep reading to learn more about some of the key benefits of installing a whole-house fan.
Whole-House Fan Benefit: Provide HVAC Support
As mentioned above, a whole-house fan provides valuable support to your HVAC system. When it's hot outside, naturally, you run your air conditioner to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Most homeowners like their homes to stay around 72°. When it's in the triple digits outside, keeping our home in the 70s becomes difficult. However, a whole-house fan can make a huge difference.
To utilize your whole-house fan for effective summertime cooling, you need to pay attention to the temperature outside. When the temperature outside is lower than it is inside, you should turn off your AC, open some windows and turn on your fan. This will flush the warmer air inside your home out and bring in the cooler air without running your AC.
You should also pay attention to the direction your home faces and which windows let in the most sun. During the hottest part of the day or when the sun is shining on those windows, you should keep them closed and your blinds and curtains drawn to help block the sun and insulate your home against the heat. This will help keep your home cooler and reduce how much your air conditioning is running.
Whole-House Fan Benefit: Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
To keep our homes cool, we tend to stay closed up when it's hot. This can lead to stale air and a reduction in air quality. In fact, it is not uncommon for our home's indoor air quality to be worse than outside. By running your whole house fan in the evenings or early in the morning before it gets hot, you can clear this stale air, thereby improving your home's air quality. This can be especially helpful for those who have pets or have mold and mildew issues. With fresh air being brought in daily, humidity levels will be more balanced, while pet dander and other allergens won't build up.
Do You Need a Whole-House Fan Replacement?
The average lifespan for a whole-house fan is 10-15 years, depending on make, model and how often it is used. Some homeowners who have kept their whole-house fans well-maintained have been using the same fan for 20 years! However, even with a good maintenance routine, you may reach a point where your house fan needs replacement.
Signs your house fan should be replaced include:
- The fan is making strange sounds
- The fan is louder than it used to be
- The fan is having frequent repair problems
- The fan won't turn on
Noise is the number one indicator that your whole-house fan is struggling or needs replacement. So, if you hear anything funny, give us a call. We will inspect the fan, diagnose the problem and give you all your repair and replacement options. Because replacement fans can be an investment, we always look for a viable repair option first. However, if your problem is unlikely to be resolved long-term by a repair, we will likely recommend a replacement as the more economical choice.
Reminder: just as professionals should install a new fan, so too should replacement fans and repair work be handled by an expert in whole-house fans. As mentioned above, when installed incorrectly or not used correctly, they have the potential to cause a backdraft in your home, sucking air back in through the various exhaust vents in your home. If you need help repairing or replacing your house fan, call Valley for help.